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Following Ayrton Senna’s death at Imola, David was promoted from test driver to the race team – where he sat alongside Damon Hill. With 13 Grand Prix wins and over 60 podium finishes during his career he became Britain’s highest point-scorer in the sport. Now a member of the Channel 4 commentary team, David talks first hand about how to succeed in a high performance and unremittingly high pressure environment. He also explains how F1 teams rely on the drivers, technicians, engineers and sponsors all working together, and the motivation and leadership skills required to succeed in this most high-risk, high-tech sport.
David Coulthard won thirteen Formula One Grand Prix, racing for the Williams, McLaren and Red Bull teams. He is now a popular broadcaster as well as the author of The Winning Formula, a look at the key lessons F1 holds for businesses and business leaders.
David dominated Britain’s junior Formula Ford categories and was the first ever recipient of the McLaren Autosport Award for young drivers. His first memorable battle was with future F1 rival Rubens Barichello for the British Formula 3 Championship, a battle David won. Appointed a test driver with the Williams F1 team, he was unexpectedly promoted to the team after the tragic death of Ayton Senna. He partnered fellow Brit Damon Hill for the remainder of the season.
In his first full season as a driver, David won the Portuguese GP and finished third in the Championship. He enjoyed more success at McLaren, with 12 of his 13 career wins coming with the team. He twice supporting team mate Mika Hakkinen to the Drivers’ Championship and two seasons later finished runner-up behind Michael Schumacher. Coulthard’s last few years were spent at the newly-formed Red Bull team and, on his retirement after over a decade in F1, he was the highest-scoring British driver of all time.
Since his retirement from Formula 1 driving, David has served as a consultant to the Red Bull team, and has continued to race in the DTM class of touring cars and the Race of Champions series. He has also become a popular pundit and commentator, first for BBC, and then as a key part of Channel 4’s race team.
Away from the track he has written two books, including The Winning Formula: Leadership, Strategy and Motivation The F1 Way, a look at how lessons from the world of F1 apply elsewhere, from how pit crews work to what sponsors get from their involvement in the sport to how team principals operate. In speeches he lifts the lid on the high-risk, high-pressure, high-tech and high-finance world of F1 and looks at the innovation and teamwork required to succeed in the world’s fastest sport.
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Conference Speaker David Coulthard